Monday, August 19, 2013

How to Prepare and Recover from Flood Waters

Millions of people around the world are affected by flood waters each year. Flooding waterways and flash floods on average are the most damaging natural disasters resulting in millions of dollars in property damage and claim hundreds of lives. Flood waters can slowly advance or occur minutes after rainfall, so it’s essential you are prepared before a flood and know how to act during and after a flooding event.

Before a flood
The best way to avoid the devastating effects of flooding is to understand the factors that lead to flooding. Of course rainfall is correlated to flooding but did you know that the local terrain, flood control measures and construction all impact flooding? To decrease the chance of flood waters becoming an issue avoid building your home on a floodplain but be aware that where rain occurs flooding is a possibility. Protect yourself financially from flood damage with flood insurance. Many homeowners are not aware that homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover losses from floods and there is a 30-day waiting period prior to coverage kicking in. Don’t risk large investments- buy flood insurance now!

During a flood
While a flood is happening it’s important to listen to emergency radio broadcasts. Information on flooded areas and evacuation orders will be communicated over the radio. This is especially true if power has been knocked out rendering televisions useless. Move valuable personal items to the second floor of your home if you are not in imminent danger. If you need to evacuate your home make sure you take an emergency kit with 72 hours of food, water, medications and a first aid kit. Most flooding deaths happen while the victim attempts to drive over a flooded road. Do not risk your life as just 2 feet of moving water carries enough power to disable even the largest cars and trucks. Most flooding deaths are due to victim not respecting the power of flood waters.

After a flood
Following a flood, rescue and emergency crews will be busy saving stranded residents so it’s best to make their jobs easier by staying off roads. Don’t risk driving on bridges and roads as they may have become unsafe to traverse. Flood water is usually contaminated so make sure you clean and disinfect anything that came into contact with flood water. Contact your flood insurance agent to discuss claims and check the references of repair contractors before they begin to repair flood damaged property. Local and federal agencies may offer assistance so listen for information on relief programs that will help you recover from a flood. Your life is not worth risking during or after a flood. Respect the power of flooding waters and remember material possessions can be replaced, your loved ones cannot.

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